While announcement of the pod taxi service in Gurgaon generated a lot of excitement, implementation of the project will pose the real challenge.
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) has asked the private company planning the pod taxi project to conduct a comprehensive survey of the city and also decide on definite routes, instead of dotting the entire skyline with elevated tracks and demanding right of way (ROW) for construction.
Meanwhile, the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) is also getting a traffic study conducted by an independent agency. The pod taxi project was cleared by the state government in principle on January 16 when Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had formally announced to introduce the service in Gurgaon. The revolutionary service is likely to be launched on a total route of 105 km in the city. Ultra Fairwood Limited, which is in the process of planning the project in consultation with a UK-based company, had approached Huda for RoW for the entire city.
"But I have asked the firm to conduct a comprehensive survey of the city to gauge the traffic pattern and zero in on specific routes instead of spreading all over the entire city. The company demanded RoW for the entire city which is not a feasible idea," said Huda administrator Nitin K Yadav.
The pod taxi service is already functional at Heathrow Airport in the UK where it is running successfully.
Pod taxi is a battery-operated, driverless and laser guided small vehicle running on elevated tracks. With a passenger carrying capacity of 4-6 persons, the pod car can speed up to 40kmph. Weighing about 850 kgs, the car is best suited for a burgeoning city like Gurgaon.
The city is witnessing rapid growth in the field of intra-city public transport with various private initiatives. DLF and IL&FS associate companies are already working on a 6.1-km long Gurgaon Rapid MetroRail Gurgaon project.
According to officials, pod taxis are an excellent intra-city service that can be very effective for Gurgaon. The detailed project report (DPR) will be submitted later.
To come up in public-private partnership mode, the project is likely to attract an investment outlay of about R5,000 crore, government officials said.
They, however, could not promise the time frame to launch the service in Gurgaon.
The cost of laying such an advanced transport system comes to about R40 crore per kilometre.